With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, it will soon be time to get those arms on show. No one wants to be revealing their “bingo wings” or “washing lines”, which are some of the less-than-flattering terms used to describe baggy, droopy, triceps! So, it’s time to get them pumping and shaping so you can be sporting some seriously sexy arms this year.
As these exercises can be done with free-weights such as dumbbells, this means they can be performed at the gym or at home, so no excuses. If you are a beginner, you can use cans of beans or similar, or water bottles – as long as you are able to maintain a good grip on them.
To get the most from these 5 dumbbell triceps exercises, you will need to really focus on the contraction of the muscle. Anyone can pick up a dumbbell and swing it back and forth with momentum. But that WILL NOT give you great triceps!
So grip the weight very tight and really focus your mind on burning up that 3-headed beast to get maximum results in minimum time. Always move the arm in a slow and steady motion, with no erratic jerking movements.
The secret to building and shaping this muscle is to make sure you always keep it super-tense. This way you will be able to mentally focus on the muscle contracting throughout the exercise. By using this technique and following the instructions below, this triceps dumbbell workout will have you rocking the firmest and shapeliest arms in no time at all!
For more suggestions to fill your tricep day routine, check out the best lateral head tricep exercises.
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension
This exercise can be done with both arms at the same time but you will get better focus on triceps contraction when working the arms individually.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees unlocked, core engaged
- Hold dumbbell overhead with a straight right arm, with palm facing inwards
- Take your left hand and gently support the back of the overhead right arm
- Slowly bend the right arm, keeping your elbow facing forwards throughout
- Slowly extend the arm straight up to the start position once again
- Keep the muscles tensed throughout and never lock the elbow straight
- Repeat on the other side.
Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
Holding this exercise whilst tensing the triceps muscles encourages great growth and definition. Just don’t let any momentum take over and keep the movement controlled throughout.
- Place your left shin and left hand on a bench – hand directly under shoulder
- Make sure your left elbow isn’t locked, keep back flat and abs pulled in
- Take dumbbell in right hand, palm facing inwards
- Lift your arm so the triceps muscle is parallel to floor, elbow at 90 degrees
- Now push the dumbbell backwards until your arm is straight and tense
- Hold for a count of 3, squeezing tightly and slowly lower back to 90 degrees
- Keep your arm fixed to the body throughout and repeat on the left side
Laying Lateral Dumbbell Triceps
This variation really targets the lateral head of the triceps, giving sharp definition and a tight and firm line along the outside of the arm – nice!
- Lay on your back on a bench with knees bent, feet flat
- Take the dumbbell in your right hand and hold it straight up to the ceiling
- Keep shoulder blade in contact with the bench and palm facing feet
- Support right triceps with your left hand to keep the upper arm still
- Slowly bend your right arm inwards until you almost touch your left chest
- Then straighten the arm once again without locking the elbow
- Keep the triceps tense throughout the exercise
Close-Grip Diamond Dumbbell Push-Ups
This version of the classic push-up is perfect if you suffer from wrist pain. Being able to grip the dumbbell whilst keeping your wrists straight, rather than bent, offers good wrist protection and great results. It’s safest doing this with a hex dumbbell but a round one will suffice with care. Using a narrow grip always targets more than the chest.
- Get into a standard push-up position, feet hip-width apart
- Take a dumbbell into each hand with knuckles down
- Rotate the dumbbells slightly inwards so your thumbs are almost touching
- Slowly lower your body, elbows bending outwards to create diamond-shape
- Keep your chest 1” above dumbbells for 3 seconds and push-up
- Make sure you never lock those elbows at the top of the movement
- Keep shoulder blades back and core engaged throughout the exercise
2-Arm Static Extensions
It’s really important to keep your abs and core engaged throughout this exercise so you don’t feel it in your lower back, especially when those triceps start to burn at insane levels from the static holds! Pure evil!
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees unlocked
- Bend forwards in a skiing posture to 45 degrees, knees bent
- Keep back flat, abs pulled in and core engaged to protect lower back
- Take a dumbbell in each hand and bring upper arms against side of body
- Push the dumbbells backward to straighten arms fully
- Hold the dumbbells for a count of 10, tensing the triceps the whole time
- Slowly lower to start position, keeping upper arms against the body
Doing these exercises every other day as part of your biceps and triceps workout with dumbbells, will give you the hottest, most defined and envied arms in town! As you will be targeting them from all angles, the beauty of this great arm muscle will be plain to see in all its defined glory!
Make sure you get working on those biceps and deltoids too, so the arms have great shape all round. There are many more exercises that can be performed on the triceps muscle using cable machines, kettlebells, barbells, resistance bands, and good old bodyweight.
You don’t need to use heavy weights for these exercises, if you focus your mind and perform these exercises with slow and steady control, you will be amazed at how difficult a 4kg dumbbell can feel! Get that mind/muscle connection going on and the rest will follow!